By Comrade Pat McCauliffe
The local community is the backbone of any society. People bound together by social upbringing and shared values in a small geographic area are the most willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of everyone. At the same time, these communities must set their sights beyond themselves and unite with other communities globally to fight their enemies and preserve their individual rights to not have individual rights. Outsiders merely looking to exploit them for their labor or resources (while paying a disgusting cost or filthy wage for it) are the root of everything evil in the world.
Take Binghamton, for example. Despite the problems our area has, which are actually pretty common in Rust Belt states where evil Big Industry has left and taken their exploitative jobs with them, what we have here is valid. Our community has plenty of places to go and things to see. Our festivals and culture get better and more diverse every year. People actually like to visit Binghamton for our sights and our food. Our citizens take care of each other and our successes matter to each other. We don’t need economic booms brought by evil corporations; we have heart.
That’s why the rumors of Amazon considering Broome County as its new headquarters left me literally shaking. How could they invest their money into our community, bringing short-term jobs that won’t do anything except help us pay our rent and provide much-needed tax revenue, yet simultaneously have a globally-minded agenda to make money? How dare they try to do both?
In the 1950s and 1960s, our cities lost much-needed revenue and investment through white flight. The community that remained behind, primarily POC, still suffer the effects of this abandonment to this day through lower funding to inner city schools and incredibly high rent costs. If we could get that money back, these public services would benefit everyone.
At the same time, we need to encourage innovation from within our own community. Gentrification is the bane of entrepreneurship in any local area. How can our communal grocery survive when trying to compete with Whole Foods? If Binghamton University brought back Taco Bell or allowed new chains on campus, how could our Food Co-op compete? Preserving these staples of the community at any cost is how we maintain our lifestyle and our integrity.
If Amazon were to come to Binghamton, the results would be disastrous. As an ally wrote in Pipe Dream last month, Amazon’s impact on our planet and its “toxic conveniences,” to quote the author, are not worth aiming for when local businesses can give us a much more rewarding investment in our neighbors and friends. These corporations don’t need our money, and we don’t need theirs. I mean, we could definitely use it, but that’s not the point. The point is to make sure we keep people that care about Binghamton in Binghamton. We don’t want our lives dictated by the whim of corporations’ selfish desire for pure profit. Never mind the regular people that leave Binghamton for better situations; they aren’t thinking about the community, they only want what’s best for them.
Luckily for us, it looks like Amazon has no interest in setting up shop in Binghamton. Our community doesn’t need its uncertain neoliberal investments when we have so much to offer right here. However, if evil Big Industry does exist in a community already, like Endicott-Johnson did, it would be immoral for them to leave our region for a mere profit margin. Shop local, attend local events, and do what you can to provide investment to our friends and neighbors. That is, at least, until we abolish the capitalist system and local business assets are seized for the good of the global proletariat population.